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  • Published In : Feb 2024
  • Code : CMI6488
  • Pages :140
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Advanced Materials

The global weathering steel market size is expected to reach US$ 2.11 Bn by 2030, from US$ 1.29 Bn in 2023, at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period. Weathering steel, also known as corten steel, is a self-protecting steel that develops a stable rust-like appearance when exposed to the weather. It has high tensile strength and is used in bridges, shipping containers, seaports, and outdoor sculptures. The key drivers of the market include superior properties like increased strength and corrosion resistance.

The global weathering steel market is segmented based on type, material, end-use industry, and region. By type, the market is segmented into plates, sheets, coils, bars, and others. The plates segment accounted for the largest share as weathering steel plates offer durability, high-yield strength, improved weldability, and cost-efficiency.

Global Weathering Steel Market Regional Insights

  • North America is expected to be the second-largest market for weathering steel during the forecast period, accounting for over 25.2% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in North America is attributed to the increasing construction activities and investments in infrastructure.
  • Asia Pacific is expected to be the largest market for weathering steel, accounting for over 38.7% of the market share in 2023. The growth of the market in is attributed to rapid urbanization and industrialization in emerging economies such as India, Mexico, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China, and Brazil.
  • Europe is expected to be the fastest-growing market for weathering steel, with a CAGR of over 7.2% during the forecast period. The growth of the market in Europe is attributed to stringent regulations regarding sustainable construction.

Figure 1. Global Weathering Steel Market Share (%), By Region, 2023


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Global Weathering Steel Market Drivers

  • Superior properties driving adoption in the construction and infrastructure sectors: Weathering steel, also known as corten steel, has gained increasing popularity as a construction material due to its superior properties and sustainability benefits. The high tensile strength, durability, corrosion resistance, and aesthetics of weathering steel makes it well suited for bridges, buildings, marine environments, outdoor sculptures, and other structural applications. For instance, according to the US Department of Transportation, the maintenance cost for a weathering steel bridge over its 75-year design life is estimated to be around 30-40% lower compared to painted bridges needing regular repainting.
  • Cost efficiency fuelling uptake in the manufacturing and energy sectors: Weathering steel offers significant cost savings compared to other materials like stainless steel owing to its relatively lower alloying element content. The elimination of expenses related to corrosion-prevention treatments such as paints and coatings offers long-term economic benefits. For instance, as per a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, investments in renewable power generation capacity will need to double by 2030 from current 2021 levels to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
  • Recovery in end-use industries expanding market prospects: Key end-use industries like construction, infrastructure, automotive, and manufacturing were adversely impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting the demand for weathering steel. However, increased infrastructure spending and a rebound in industrial activity globally have reopened opportunities.
  • Product development and process innovations: Leading weathering steel manufacturers are investing in R&D initiatives to enhance the properties of existing grades. Advancements like improvements in weathering behavior, weldability, formability, strength, etc. are expected to widen application scope across industries. For instance, according to data published by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2020, renewable energy and green building sectors are expected to grow exponentially in the coming decade to meet sustainability goals of many countries.

Global Weathering Steel Market Opportunities

  • Rising sustainable construction driving the product demand: With increasing environmental consciousness, the building and construction industry is gradually shifting towards sustainable materials and designs. Weathering steel meets green building criteria owing to its recyclability, durability, and low maintenance needs. For instance, the European Union's 'Green New Deal' aims to renovate millions of buildings and upgrade energy efficiency standards by 2030, generating huge demand for sustainable building materials optimal for green buildings.
  • Growth across emerging economies: Developing nations in Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa are undertaking large-scale infrastructure development projects to address rapid urbanization and rising energy needs. This is creating substantial demand for construction materials including weathering steel. For instance, data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), infrastructure investment as a percentage of GDP increased across all developing regions between 2015 and 2019. The share was highest in Africa at 3.5% in 2019.
  • Rising demand in art and architecture: Weathering steel is increasingly becoming the material of choice for contemporary artists and architects owing to its rustic and rugged aesthetic. Landmark outdoor sculptures and architectural projects globally showcase the creative potential offered by the patina finish and texture of weathering steel. For instance, according to the records maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the number of innovative public art projects and structures featuring Corten steel increased steadily between 2020 and 2022 globally.
  • Development of advanced weathering steel grades: Product innovation through proprietary alloy development provides significant opportunities for manufacturers to differentiate their offerings, cater to challenging applications and command premium pricing. For instance, as per the 2021 report by the United Nations Environment Program, the construction, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors contribute over 30% of global carbon emissions primarily due to extensive use of paints and coatings on steel structures pricing.

Global Weathering Steel Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 1.29 Bn
Historical Data for: 2018 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 - 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 7.3% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 2.11 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa:  GCC Countries, Israel,  South Africa, North Africa, and Central Africa and Rest of Middle East
Segments covered:
  • By Type: Plates, Sheets, Coils, Bars, Others
  • By End-use Industry: Transportation, Art & Architecture, Industrial, Power Plants, Others
  • By Material Type: Corten-A, Corten-B, Others
Companies covered:

ArcelorMittal, United States Steel Corporation, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Tata Steel, POSCO, SSAB AB, JFE Steel Corporation, Bluescope Steel Limited, HBIS Group, Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation.

Growth Drivers:
  • Superior properties driving adoption in construction and infrastructure sectors
  • Cost efficiency fuelling uptake in manufacturing and energy sectors
  • Recovery in end-use industries expanding market prospects
  • Product development and process innovations
Restraints & Challenges:
  • High initial costs limiting adoption
  • Limitations in wet, cold and marine environments
  • Lack of experience and expertise among stakeholders

Global Weathering Steel Market Trends

  • Increasing adoption of weathering steel in bridges and transportation infrastructure: Weathering steel is emerging as an ideal construction material for bridges and transportation infrastructure like railways, ports, bus shelters etc. owing to its high strength, lightweight nature, durability and low maintenance. For instance, Big River Steel, a leading American producer, has stated its railway infrastructure customers more than doubled from 2020 to 2022 and new bridge projects comprised over 15% of the company's total tons shipped in 2022, up from just 5% in 2019.
  • High-strength weathering steel enabling lightweight design: Manufacturers are developing innovative ultra-high-strength weathering steel product lines with yield strength exceeding 1300 MPa. These advanced steel grades enable engineers to design lightweight, sustainable structures. For instance, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that over 25% of the total bridge deck area of the national highway system is now made from higher strength steels, up from under 10% in 2010.
  • Shift towards customized weathering steel solutions: An emerging trend is the provision of tailored weathering steel offerings catering to unique project requirements across end-use sectors. Manufacturers leverage R&D and advanced manufacturing to develop customized solutions. For instance, according to the US Department of Transportation, the use of advanced alloy-defined and coated weathering steels has increased over 10% from 2020 to 2021 in secondary road networks and inland waterway projects across the U.S.
  • Widening range of coatings and finishes: Weathering steel suppliers are widening their portfolio of coatings and finishes to enhance the corrosion resistance, weatherability and aesthetic appeal of products. Advanced coating technologies and paint systems compatible with weathering steel are gaining prominence. For instance, according to data from the US Department of Transportation's National Bridge Inventory, over 10% of the bridges built in 2021 used some form of customized coating on weathering steel for aesthetic pleasures.

Global Weathering Steel Market Restraints

  • High initial costs limiting adoption: While weathering steel offers lifecycle cost benefits from reduced maintenance, the high initial purchasing costs pose an affordability challenge. Weathering steel is approximately 1.5 - 2 times more expensive than conventional structural carbon steel. This is hampering uptake especially for cost-sensitive customers and projects. For instance, data from the American Society of Civil Engineers showed nearly 41% of projects in the U.S. reported abandoning weathering steel due to initial cost constraints in 2020-21.
  • Counter balance: Create a strong brand presence with a consistent message focused on the innovative and sustainable aspects of weathering steel.
  • Limitations in wet, cold and marine environments: A key limitation of weathering steel is its slow weathering and potential corrosion in wet, humid, cold, and marine environments. Without adequate exposure to atmospheric conditions that enable drying, the protective patina may not form properly leading to maintenance issues.
  • For instance, according to statistics from the United Nations, approximately 10% of the world's population lives in coastal areas vulnerable to marine corrosion. Similarly, over 25% of land area faces monthly mean temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius.
  • Counter balance: Develop and patent new alloys or treatment processes that extend the life of weathering steel in different environments
  • Lack of experience and expertise among stakeholders: Although weathering steel has been in use for decades, lack of technical expertise in specifying, procuring, fabricating and installing weathering steel remains a challenge. Engineers, architects and contractors used to working with conventional steel have limited exposure to effectively leverage weathering steel. For instance, according to a 2020 United Nations Industrial Development Organization report, only 11% of the construction workforce in developing nations had received any form of formal vocational training.
  • Counter balance: Launch educational campaigns targeting architects, builders, and engineers to increase awareness about the benefits and applications of weathering steel.

Analyst’s View

The weathering steel market is expected to grow steadily driven by the increasing use of the material in applications that require corrosion resistance. Major drivers include the growing construction of bridges and ports where weathering steel provides longevity and low maintenance over conventional steel. An aging infrastructure across regions also provides opportunities to replace existing structures with more durable weathering steel. North America currently dominates the demand stimulated by investments to upgrade roads, railways, and other public infrastructure.

However, stringent quality standards and certification requirements in some countries can restrain the market to an extent. The market also faces challenges from alternatives, providing highly corrosion resistant surfaces like galvanized and coated steels. Still, the minimal surface preparation and non-toxic properties of weathering steel give it an advantage over substitutes for applications near coastal regions. Among regions, Asia Pacific is anticipated to emerge as the fastest growing market led by investments to develop transport and civil infrastructure in China, India, and other developing Asian nations because construction activity is increasing in all emerging economies that want to modernize, the need for low-maintenance materials like weathering steel is set to increase. Meanwhile, projects for high-speed rail networks and metro systems bode well for opportunities in the European market. Overall, with its inherent properties reducing lifetime costs of infrastructure, the demand for weathering steel is expected to sustain provided awareness of its superior corrosion resistance grows among end-use industries and decision makers globally.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • In June 2022, Bluescope Steel announced the launch of its W350 weathering steel in Australia. It provides very high strength and delivers significant advantages over conventional steel grades. BlueScope Steel is a leading global steel supplier and manufacturer for the building and construction industries, delivering high-quality steel products globally. The company is headquartered in Australia and has a significant presence in the global steel market, with over 15,000 employees across 16 countries. BlueScope's range of quality steel products is known for their durability, strength, and versatility across various industries and applications including roofing, building framing, and structural steel.
  • In January 2021, ArcelorMittal launched new weathering steel grades for the construction industry that offers improved mechanical performance compared to existing structural long products. The new grades provide higher yield strength allowing for potential weight savings.
  • ArcelorMittal is a leading global steel and mining company that specializes in the production of weathering steel. Weathering steel, also known as corten steel, is a self-protecting steel that develops a stable rust-like appearance when exposed to the weather. It has high tensile strength and is used in various applications, including bridges, shipping containers, seaports, and outdoor sculptures.
  • In September 2020, Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation introduced corten wall and roof panels to complement its existing portfolio. The panels provide an attractive, natural rust patina and eliminate the need for repetitive painting.
  • Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation is a company that specializes in the manufacturing of metal roofing, wall, and building systems. The company offers a range of steel products known for their durability, strength, and versatility across various industries and applications, including roofing, building framing, and structural steel.  Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation  also provides a fast and easy way for customers to instantly provide their customers with a design/build, cold-formed steel building package, complete with cost estimate, construction contract, and blueprints ready for permit, through its IMPACT Building System.

Acquisition and partnerships

  • In 2022, Arcelor Mittal acquired a Scotland recycling business, John Lawrie Metals to increase the use of scrap steel across its operations in Europe. John Lawrie Metals is a scrap metal re-processor, decommissioning specialist, and steel trading company based in the U.K.
  • The company has over 80 years of experience in the industry and is one of the foremost scrap metal re-processors in the U.K. John Lawrie Metals handles around 200,000 tonnes of scrap metal annually and has scrap processing facilities in Aberdeen, Montrose, Evanton, and Liverpool.
  • In December 2020, SSAB entered into a partnership agreement with NLMK Clabecq in Belgium to jointly supply weathering steels for infrastructure projects in the Benelux region. NLMK Clabecq is a subsidiary of NLMK Group, a leading steelmaker with a focus on high-quality steel products and services
  • The company is located in Clabecq, Belgium, and specializes in the production of medium and heavy plates, with a particular emphasis on quenching and tempering (Q&T) technology. NLMK Clabecq serves various industries including construction, shipbuilding, and energy.

Figure 2. Global Weathering Steel Market Share (%), By Type, 2023


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Top companies in Global Weathering Steel Market

  • ArcelorMittal
  • United States Steel Corporation
  • Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation
  • Tata Steel
  • JFE Steel Corporation
  • Bluescope Steel Limited
  • HBIS Group
  • Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation
  • Wugang Group
  • Rautaruukki Corporation
  • Leeco Steel
  • Nucor Corporation
  • Ansteel Group Corporation
  • Baosteel Group
  • Wuhan Iron & Steel Corporation
  • A. Zahner Company
  • Patina Solutions
  • MMK Group

Definition: Weathering steel, also known as corten steel, is a high strength, low alloy steel that develops a protective rust-like appearance when exposed to atmospheric conditions. It contains copper, chromium, nickel and other alloying elements that form an adherent oxide layer on the surface when weathered, giving it corrosion resistance and eliminating the need for painting while maintaining the mechanical properties of steel. Weathering steel is used extensively in architecture, art, bridges, marine transportation, power plants and other structural applications where its aesthetic appeal and durability are valued. The patina protects the steel from further deterioration and does not compromise structural integrity.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The key factors hampering growth of the Global Weathering Steel Market are high capital costs, slowdown in end-use industries, volatility in raw material prices, stringent regulatory policies, availability of substitutes, lack of product awareness, impact of COVID-19 pandemic, unfavorable climatic conditions, and limitations in welding weathering steels.

The major factors driving the Global Weathering Steel Market are growth superior properties like high strength and corrosion resistance, increased infrastructure spending, cost-efficiency, sustainability benefits, rapid urbanization, product development and innovations, recovery in automotive industry, and growth in emerging economies.

The leading component segment in the Global Weathering Steel Market is the plates segment. Weathering steel plates are increasingly being used in construction, transportation, industrial, and infrastructure applications due to their durability and cost savings from reduced maintenance.

ArcelorMittal, United States Steel Corporation, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, Tata Steel, POSCO, SSAB AB, JFE Steel Corporation, Bluescope Steel Limited, HBIS Group, Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation, Wugang Group,  Rautaruukki Corporation, Leeco Steel, Nucor Corporation, Ansteel Group Corporation, Baosteel Group , Wuhan Iron & Steel Corporation, A. Zahner Company, Patina Solutions, MMK Group are the major players operating in the Global Weathering Steel Market.

Asia Pacific is expected to lead the global weathering steel market.

The CAGR of the Global Weathering Steel Market is projected to be 7.3% from 2023 to 2030.

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